Bopara to retain his spot as Ashes hots up

RAVI BOPARA is expected to be given another chance against the Australians as Ashes fever continues at Lord s this week, WRITES MIKE SIMMONDS. Bopara, who was born in Forest Gate and went to school at Brampton Manor, endured a disappointing first Test mat

RAVI BOPARA is expected to be given another chance against the Australians as Ashes fever continues at Lord's this week, WRITES MIKE SIMMONDS.

Bopara, who was born in Forest Gate and went to school at Brampton Manor, endured a disappointing first Test match of the series, despite England salvaging a thrilling draw.

The Essex all-rounder was dismissed for 35 in the first innings, spooning a Mitchell Johnson slower ball to Phil Hughes in the gully, before he was out lbw for one second time around.

Although that decision was dubious as the ball looked to be going over the top, Bopara struggled at times, especially against the short ball.


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England named their squad for the second Test on Monday, but although Warwickshire batsman Ian Bell was in the 14, it is unlikely that the selectors will make drastic changes to the batting line-up.

The bowling attack is another matter though, with England taking just six wickets to Australia's 19 in the first Test, with nobody covering themselves in glory.

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Both Steve Harmison and Graham Onions are now in contention for a Lord's pitch that is more suited to seam, with Monty Panesar and Stuart Broad's places under pressure, while Andrew Flintoff could also miss out with injury.

National selector, Geoff Miller, admitted that although he wasn't keen on making alterations, there might be some new faces.

"I'm not in the position to make changes for the sake of making changes," he told BBC Sport.

"It was disappointing, we're better than that, we've got players who are better than that.

"These blokes are international cricketers, alright we underperformed, but we showed a lot of steel to get out of that position.

"It was a terrific effort at the end to get us to Lord's at 0-0, but that doesn't hide the fact that we didn't play particularly well, or the fact that we didn't score enough runs.

"They scored four centuries, where we didn't score one, so consequently, we've got to play a little bit better.

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